Captain 3D presents

Part One - Cinema 4D

The principles of stereo photography are the basis of this exercise and I will use them to produce a stereo image pair from within the 3D modelling and animation software Cinema 4D XL. Then I will show you how to turn this rendered image pair into an easy to view anaglyph, ready for the web, using Photoshop.

For 3D specs and other info have alook at...


First create and set up a camera with a composition that has a good range of foreground to background objects. Name it 'Camera Left' and select it as your view for rendering. The red/blue anaglyph technique is not perfect so don't go for extreme depth as it will result in a final image with too much ghosting. Also make sure you have lots of extra space on the sides as we will need to crop later.


A stereo image is made up of two unique pictures, one image for each eye's unique point of view. By playing back the appropriate image into each of the matching eyes allows our brain to recreate the spatial relationships between the objects in the scene as if we were standing there. This is especially exciting with 3D modelling and animation as it lets the viewer fully experience these fantasy worlds.

Before we get too carried away, we will need a second camera so duplicate 'Camera Left' and name the copy 'Camera Right'. Make 'Camera Right' a child of 'Camera Left' so that if you want to recompose your shot later you just drag the one object. It also enables the creation of stereo tracking shots in animation. You can see an example of this in the Pump-Action movie section.

With 'Camera Right' selected and looking from above, drag it to the right using its x axis and the move tool. It will move perfectly parallel to 'Camera Right'. As a general rule the distance between the left and right shot should be around 1/30 the distance to the nearest object in your scene. Personally I just prefer to do it by eye.


If you could manage to 'free view' those patterned Magic Eye pictures, then you maybe able to do this.

Set up the left and right cameras in their own view windows in the editor. By relaxing your eyes and gazing off into the distance it is possible to see the left picture with your left eye while at the same time seeing the right picture with your right eye. If you do this successfully you will see the scene in stereo.

With 'Camera Right' still selected and the movement constrained to the x axis only, gently adjust its position right and left. This will increase and decrease the stereo effect live. Adjust it until you like what you see. Obviously this is an advanced eye bending technique and if you don't get it at first stick with the 1/30 rule.

At this point the stereo set up is complete.
But wait shouldn't the cameras be angled in a bit?


It is a common misconception that stereo cameras should 'toe in'. Of course our own eyes converge all the time in real life but if you look at something very close your eyes angle in so much that the whole background becomes double vision. If you create a stereo pair like this you will never be able to look into the distance of the scene without a lot of discomfort. Another problem with 'toe in' is the opposing keystone distortion that it creates in the left and right images. This is especially noticeable in wide angle shots. Have a look at the corners in these examples.




Toe In


Finish off the Cinema 4D section by rendering out your left and right images as TIFF's ready for the anaglyph processing in Photoshop.

Part Two